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Books

David Astor: the saintly, tormented man who remade the Observer

Was this dynamic and highly principled editor too good to make for an interesting biography? Not on this evidence

5 March 2016

9:00 AM

5 March 2016

9:00 AM

David Astor Jeremy Lewis

Cape, pp.416, £25, ISBN: 9780224090902

Before embarking on this book, Jeremy Lewis was told by his friend Diana Athill that his subject, the newspaper editor and philanthropist David Astor, was too ‘saintly’ for a lively biography. As a publisher, she had worked on an earlier authorised tome, and thought she knew.

Lewis, and Astor, proved more resilient.

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Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £21.00. Tel: 08430 600033. Andrew Lycett has written biographies of Rudyard Kipling, Wilkie Collins, Ian Fleming, Dylan Thomas and Arthur Conan Doyle.

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